Saturday, August 5, 2017
A Change of Attitude for the Cops
Oh no, not the cops.
You know about these law enforcement officers – hiding behind that billboard sign or bush, speed gun in hand, awaiting for the next false move so they can catch the next unsuspecting victim and hand them a bulky ticket so that the city to which they serve can get that much more fat.
Cops. You know what I’m talking about. The insensitive, moneymakers for the state, finding the smallest disorderly conduct so you can be punished, and so the government machine can be fed more of your money.
Cops – those meanies, those "cherry tops," those Officer Krupkes – all of which you have to be on the look out for. Not so you can be law-abiding citizens, but so you can outmaneuver them in the fake dance of law and order.
OK, OK – so this is how I used to look at the police. Pretty dark and dreary huh?
Whenever I traveled the roads and highways, and a black-and-white came up from behind me, I felt my blood pressure rise, my adrenaline surge and my stress increase. I would hold my breath and think, “Oh no, not the police, what will they want?”
Of course, I’ve had my share of encounters being pulled over, mainly for speeding, in the past. So I had real memories – on a practical and cellular level – of the experience of having an officer behind me lead to the stopping of my car and the unfortunate lengthy experience of dealing with a ticket. So my response to seeing any cop anywhere may be understandable.
And yet. A new experience.
The strangest thing happened to me. The other day, I noticed a policeman driving behind me, and my response was: “Oh cool, that’s nice to see.” What? How can that be?
In hindsight, I now can see the cause of the shift of mind, and it’s a valuable experience from which we all may gain insight.
In the time period between my two very different responses, I had started a new video project, one which focused on the potential PTSD that law officers must deal with while on duty. In my keen attention on the needs of the police personnel, I must have made a shift from anger and upset and towards compassion and understanding of the officer’s conditions. In that act of addressing their needs, such an alignment with them closed the gap within my mind.
So these people aren’t just an enemy trying to go after me. These are real men and women on a beat that is highly dangerous for their own physical, emotional and mental well-being. I made the shift in my own mind, and this altered my reality and reactions.
Perhaps such a shift can happen for any of us, and not simply for those wearing badges and carrying speed guns. Perhaps addressing the plight of another, perhaps walking in their shoes if even for just a few moments, can create such a shift – from anxiety to calm, from enmity to unity, from fear to love.
The shift for me was profound, conscious and authentic.
It is a shift I wish for any one of us living in conflict with another – even if only in our own minds.